Tuesday 28 April 2020

Good-bye to Amazon

Another lovely sunny morning, if chilly. I have again broken my morning dependency on the internet by going outside with my coffee to visit my plants and then returning to sit down with Wendell Berry.

Today I  reread his essay "Conservation and Local Economy." Then I read a chapter of Baltic na głos  (out loud), which would not really be in the spirit of localism, were it not for the fact that the largest group of my non-British neighbours are Poles. As I've mentioned before, Polish is the most frequently spoken language in Scotland after English and Scots. (The census counts Scots as a language.)

Yesterday morning I read Berry's "Conservation is Good Work" and made notes in pencil. My brief summary is that both conservation movements and government are inadequate to protect and preserve  nature, and that personal responsibility and household economy are necessary. We should think of nature as Creation and our home, not as "the environment". We should buy products and hire services locally. We shouldn't buy anything we don't need. We should do as much around the house and garden as possible ourselves, and when we can't, we should ask a neighbour. We should take our recreation locally instead of travelling hours and hours to national parks. We should grow our own food or eat locally grown food. We should buy good products rather than bad ones.   

I wrote my own thoughts underneath this list, and the first one was No More Amazon. This was not an extremist objection to the rainforest but a consumer's vote against Jeff Bezos' economic machine. I'm confident that if we all stopped using Amazon, he would be left with enough money to buy a small farm and grow organic vegetables for a grateful community.  

A related note is Buy only things made in the UK,  and try to buy them within walking distance. As we discovered when we went to buy a speaker for my laptop, this is easier scribbled than done. There is also our tea, coffee, and chocolate habit. We are not giving up tea, coffee and chocolate; maybe I could add "Buy only foreign things shipped consistently to the UK since 1650 at latest." That covers coffee. It still doesn't cover computer do-dads. 

Fortunately for us, there is a bookstore (just) within walking distance. Naturally it is closed for the pandemic, but it has a sign offering book delivery. To help keep the shop going, I will order my next book from it. Should we win the lottery, I will consider opening a bookshop in our own neighbourhood.   

Another note is Charity should be local, too which may be a controversial idea, since I grew up with Unicef boxes and therefor the idea that our charitable gifts should go first to the developing world. I had quite a shock in a Catholic church in Hesse when I saw a sign asking for charitable donations to poorer parts of former Eastern Germany. Money for Europe? Whaaaat? But obviously one can give both locally and internationally.  

This morning's ideas were similar (more about shopping and walking locally) but I added "Learn more about local history, geography, industry, farming, ecology" and, terribly disturbing to our way of life,"Join spiritual life of local parish." To put this in perspective, we only darken the door of our local parish church if there simply is no other Mass we can get to. The irreverence, which B.A. points out is not the priest's or congregation's fault but the fruit of V2, makes us wriggle with shame. However, perhaps it would be edifying to attend lectures and day-long retreats and so on there, should the government ever allow its doors to open again. 

Meanwhile, I didn't do much else yesterday besides work. I lost a lot of time hearing, discussing and debating Pope Francis's St. Mark's Day homily, which I don't think equated all missionary efforts to the much-hated "proselytism," but others do. More newsworthy was the Italian Bishops objection to the Italian government maintaining a ban on public masses while allowing factories to open and extended family to mingle. 

I did a lot of laundry, as rain is forecast for the rest of the week, and I watered the lawn and gardens.  At 6:30 PM, we went for a very short walk, its brevity my fault for working late. We had spaghetti bolognese for supper, and we watched both an episode of "Chef's Table" and Episode 6 of "The Chosen". The "Chef's Table" episode was set in Lima, Peru and included an Andean woman praying to Pachamama. "The Chosen" had no reference to Pachamama whatsoever, as you could guess. \

Lunchtime Gardening Update: Gave up on three of the never-germinating runner beans today. Planted courgette seeds in their pots. Planted more radishes and lettuce, this time in the Trug.

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